Friday, May 22

Confessions of A College Student's Mom: Great Alternatives to Double Majors

So, child #2 is home from college and our home is bursting at the seams with her 'stuff'. You all will be glad to know that I'm holding my OCDness together surprisingly well. The most obvious reason for this is because I know when she leaves for college this fall we will not be seeing her on a regular basis. I'm a little sad about that. Nevertheless, birds gotta fly and Mamas gotta let them go. We went through the same thing with child #1. And as hard as it was, we made it just fine. In fact, Mr.P and I enjoy the nest when it's empty!

We are getting down to the nitty-gritty of her college career. She will be a junior when she returns to college in the Fall. She is finished with all of the boring, yet necessary core classes. Now's the time for the classes of substance that will support her major. She has tossed around the idea of a double major and the advantages of going that route. The more we research the pros and cons, we have come to the conclusion that a double major is probably NOT the best decision for her. 

This won't be the case for every college student. For a long time, choosing a double major has been a good way for students to beef up their resume. Double majors use to be the perfect approach for students focusing in on a primary interest that might not work out and still have a solid backup plan with better job prospects. But dramatic changes to what a degree represents in today's society and the skills employers expect are causing many to question the value of that second degree. Employers today are usually more impressed by your experience and what you can do than by showing them you’ve earned multiple bachelor’s degrees. 

So should you double major in college?

College should be flexible, affordable, and purposeful. Here are a few practical alternatives to double majoring that are more likely to pay off down the road:
  • Figure out your life purpose so you know what you really want to do when you finish.
  • Get practical work experience that helps you narrow down your choice.
  • Go faster through courses you don’t like and use the extra time to dive deep into a topic you love.
  • Pack your degree with free electives that offer practical job skills. 
  • Do a second internship for the practical work experience.  The number one thing prospective companies look for in new employees is work experience! 
  • Travel to a foreign country or study abroad while you have flexibility and still qualify for student discounts. This is definitely something E want to tackle next Spring or Summer.
  • Sometimes less is more. Employers are often more impressed by your ability to be a star at one thing than you having the ability to do several things mediocre. 
  • Finish your bachelor's degree earlier and get a jump start on a master’s degree or work experience and have a smaller college loan.
Double majoring might work really well for a few people in a few situations. But at the end of the day, a double major college grad is still only a college grad. Don’t get me wrong: being a college grad is a good thing! Double major with caution. Think carefully about whether a single degree could put you farther ahead, with more work experience, a higher level of education, and less debt.

In the end, y'all are all ROCK STARS for attending college and pursuing your goals. PERIOD. Graduating with a diploma that you worked SO HARD for will be totally worth it, whether you finished with one major or two. You learn a lot more along the way than anything you’d find in a textbook, anyways. Just sayin'.


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